Huskies scale Crossroads peak
Shelby-Rising City boys basketball survived two game-winning shots in the final 15 seconds of the Crossroads Conference championship game and celebrated its first league title in a 47-46 win over Giltner on Jan. 26 in York.
The Huskies led 47-43 with the clock ticking under 20 seconds remaining, gave up a 3-pointer to the Hornets, missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity but enjoyed just the right bounces on the final possession.
Giltner’s Dayne Hinrichs missed from five feet, collected his own rebound right at the rim but missed again setting off the S-RC celebration.
It’s the first boys basketball conference championship since Shelby and Rising City combined seven years ago and the Huskies first Crossroads trophy since 1980.
“Anytime you can get some hardware during the season, especially in the conference championship, is a huge plus,” coach Grant Gabel said. “Playing in that environment, it was a raucous crowd for both teams.
“We had the lead for pretty much the entire game, but they hit some shots down the stretch. For our kids to experience a game like that in that environment, and to get the win, it speaks volumes about, No. 1, our character, and No. 2, we’re going to have some really, really close games here to finish the season.”
Shelby-Rising City led by four, 14-10, after the first quarter and had the same lead at halftime when both teams scored 10 in the second.
The Huskies doubled the advantage to eight in the third, then, as Gabel said, endured a 14-7 final eight minutes.
Senior Austin Coffin scored 20 points leading his side in scoring and collecting five rebounds. Colin Wingard led the Huskies on the glass with seven rebounds while Bailey Belt dished out five assists.
For Coffin, it was another big game in the conference tournament for a player who had eight in a 54-37 win over Cross County in the semfinals and 25 points in the 53-33 tournament win over Nebraska Lutheran three days earlier.
“Austin is our guy. He’s a four-year starter, and he hit some big, big shots there in the championship game,” Gabel said. “In the semis against Cross County, he struggled a little bit. They obviously had their best defender on him. Nebraska Lutheran was the same thing; he just couldn’t get any shots to fall.
“For him to have 25 points for us in the championship game and hit some big buckets, he pretty much put the team on his back and carried us through the conference tournament.”
The win made it four straight for S-RC and, for Gabel at least, created the greatest moment he’s ever experienced as Husky coach.
“Oh my goodness. It was exciting. It was the best moment so far for myself being here as the coach of Shelby-Rising City,” he said. “Just to hear that final horn go off and us secure the rebound, took a weight off our shoulders.
“I could have thought about 100 different ways that game could have ended. But for that, in that moment, it was pretty exciting.”
The win improved S-RC to 13-5 on the season with five games remaining on the regular season schedule.
Up next was Class D-1 No. 5 Fullerton on Tuesday followed by 10-6 Bruning-Davenport/Shickley, 3-11 Osceola, Class D-2 No. 5 Humphrey St. Francis then 6-11 East Butler to close the regular season.
“We can’t look ahead. We’ve got to take it one game at a time as we have throughout the season,” Gabel said.
“But when it comes down to crunch time, knowing the situation, knowing what we need, we can learn and build on what has happened in the past. When we need a bucket here or a stop there, we emphasize the moment.”
Jan. 24 - SR-C 54, Cross County 37: After a 9-9 first quarter, SR-C took control in the second, only allowing three points defensively. Still, a 23-12 halftime lead was whittled down to a 31-25 gap until the Huskies scored 23 to just 12 for the Cougars over the final eight minutes.
Colin Wingard led SR-C with 15 points, Max Hoatson had 10 rebounds and Jet Pinneo four assists.
The Huskies earned 25 trips to the free throw line and sank 20 shots while the Cougars were on the line only seven times.
Jan. 21 - SR-C 53, Nebraska Lutheran 33: Allowing only six first-quarter points while scoring 18 gave the Huskies a lead they would never surrender.
The advantage stretched to 28-13 and 45-20 after three.
Austin Coffin led SR-C offensively with 25 points, Max Hoatson grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds and Colin Wingard dished out five assists.